Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Rules of Grammar by Mary Deal

The rules of grammar are to, first, benefit a reader.

Grammar is standard format to which good writers will adhere. Secondly, it provides all writers a standard to follow that makes the written word fluent. Proper grammar is the backbone of all written prose, regardless some be written in colloquialisms, laced with foreign words, slang, or any other variation.

See it this way–

An avid reader picks up a book written according to the rules of grammar. They read through the book quickly and immensely enjoy the story because nothing impedes their reading experience.
Yet another well-read reader opens a book only to find grammar flaws such as poor format, incorrect sentence structure, irregular or incorrect speaker tags and beats, and other jarring errors. It’s difficult for this reader to enjoy the book because the author did not follow the rules of correct grammar that make for a smooth read and which is constant in all good books.
Poor grammar and composition in an otherwise great story deflates the reader’s enthusiasm. The reader may think twice about having to pick their way through a plethora of errors in any new book by that author. Some will not complete the read of the present book.
Our school system requires all graduates to have studied English grammar. I’ve found that many have forgotten what they learned. Too, it’s erroneous to believe that because we studied grammar in school that we know how to write.
Truth is, few remember.
Another truth is that most writers have never been told how to write a story of greater length. Writing a story or book length manuscript is different in the real world than composing high school or college papers.
A short cut to learning proper grammar is as I always recommend: Get your hands on a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style and a thesaurus. Any time you have difficulty, for example, composing a sentence or deciding whether to use a colon or semi-colon, or need a more descriptive verb, refer to these thorough and concise research aids.
Don’t ask a friend to help you sort out grammar inconsistencies. Friends may not be able to solve your problems and then leave you to make an arbitrary decision.
You can post your questions on a website. Others will reply with a variety of answers, but whom do you believe? If you’re sure the friend you ask is a professional with grammar, then go ahead and trust their response if they seem certain.

An inexperienced writer having to relearn grammar all the while writing a book will surely destroy a friendship if that writer constantly expects the friend to advise them all along the way.

At some early point, every writer must take responsibility for learning how to make their stories as perfect as possible.
Two other references I always recommend – I could recommend many but will skim the best off the top of the list here – are:

Writing with Clarity and Style by Robert A. Harris

Complete Stylist and Handbook by Sheridan Baker

Should you feel you are knowledgeable enough to write your opus but you encounter problems along the way, then to the list above, I would suggest you freely refer to my book, Write it Right – Tips for Authors,The Big Book.
Particular information found here is meant for writers who progress nicely, but find problems that should be smoothed out in order to compose fluid prose.
Maintaining a library of reference books to guide you is best. Many books offer bits of information about this and that, but no one book will solve all of your problems.
Those able to write stunning prose based on her or his current knowledge or ability may not need a lot of books. Any questions they have can be researched in reference books or writing reference sites on the Net.

Any early uncertainties about writing abilities overall could be solved with a course or two in writing to give some sort of foundation or base from which to begin.

 Mary Deal

Author, Painter, Photographer
Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner
National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist (past)
Pushcart Prize Nominee
Global eBook Awards Nominee
2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist
Global eBook Awards Bronze
Global eBook Awards Silver
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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

SPRING CONCERT by Patricia Crandall

 Melodic soft voices
drifting in harmony
as dark-suited boys
and white organdy girls
wear gentle expressions
of spring

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Infinity, a poem by Patricia Crandall

                                                                                    In drifting waves
                                                                                    A jewel of a lake
                                                                                    Unable to rein in my gaze


Monday, March 5, 2018


Icy tunneled roadways
give shelter from wintry winds
where tousled, snow-fingered limbs
harbor iced patterns
on fragile leaves
yet to fall off armies of trees.
A tree-lined lake        
mirrors blue and gold
(ice and sun).
The brightest star shines
higher than its counterpart,
(a quarter moon). At night,
moonlight showers
are white-gold
like a husky’s fur.
In the woodland,
early spring moves slap-dash
through a running brook.
At dusk, birds share
bounteous feeders.
New snowflakes fall
on the frozen ground.
At the roadside,
snow-capped mailboxes
and snow-shelves
bank along the passageways.
Patricia Crandall

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Best of Fiction on the Web is now available to buy

The big day has finally arrived. Here are the links to buy copies of the book:

If you asked for a free copy, you will receive it at the beginning of March.

What next?

- I've attached a press release - please spread it far and wide! Let's try to get people excited about this wonderful charitable anthology.

- You can also direct people to this web page:

- When you read the book, please leave a review on Amazon.

Monday, February 19, 2018

AMERICA, by author Patricia Crandall

Jet streams pass over
a cherished heritage
Eagles soar beneath,
symbols of righteous freedom.
I retain
one part of the main,
New York
industrious and powerful.
Vacationing south, I
traveled wide
of New England’s crowning vistas
and meshed through warm, flat straights,
wending into Florida,
poignant with crowded sunshine
and Mickey Mouse.
I am
desirous yet to see
Colorado Rockies
California style
all territories united.
you have aged well, being
worthy of infinite beauty and greatness.
And through all the dark
you give us light.

by Patricia Crandall

Friday, January 19, 2018

WINDOW BIRD WATCHING by Patricia Crandall

Do you have an invalid living with you? Or an elderly parent, a hyperactive child, too-busy husband or wife, unexpected guests? Face them toward a window where they can view bird feeders visited by cardinals, sparrows, juncos, mourning doves, chickadees, grosbeaks, nuthatches, titmice, pine siskin, starlings, blue jays, woodpeckers and hummingbirds. The entertainment is delightful. And, in your harried moments, you might face that window.
Bird feeders come in all shapes and sizes as do birds. There are plastic feeders in which to hold wild bird seed, sunflower seeds, thistle seeds, and hand-crafted, wooden feeders. A favorite feeder of mine is a wooden chickadee with three cut-out holes, to hold peanut butter and seeds pressed into it. What sheer poetry to see a chickadee perched on its wooden equal.
 One particular feeder comes in the shape of an apple with a skewer, to hold suet. You can make a homemade suet container by discarding all bacon grease and grease products into the bottom half of a milk carton. Fill it with pan drippings until you have enough to insert into your suet feeder. Cut it to fit. Birds love it. Suet keeps them warm, and it costs nothing.

Each May, in Upstate New York, hummingbirds arrive at our feeders filled to the brim, with glistening red nectar. After a long journey, these tiny birds populate the northeast for a brief summer season. During this time, it is thrilling to observe the vibrant colors of the males, and the muted colors of the females, as they build their basket nests, and tend to their young. These birds are so small, it helps to have a pair of binoculars on hand. The males are territorial and chase predators three times their size, to protect their families. As predictable as they are to arrive in May, they generally leave mid-September.
Children delight in bird watching and it beats staring at the TV, Ipad or iPhone all the while. Grandma enjoys tea at a cozy table indoors where it is warm, with a vantage point to view the birds. John, in a wheelchair, is drawn to nature, observing the wildlife.
Wild ducks come to our feeders in early spring to eat the seeds that fall on the ground. Although not as welcome as the others, black bears awakening after a long, winter’s nap, visit our feeders and cause havoc.
Squirrels are pesky at times. One solution to this age-old problem is to set the feeder on a pole rather than attach it to a tree limb. Then grease the pole with Crisco. These gray critters cannot shimmy up a slippery pole; however, they are agile ‘out on a limb!’
All things considered, bird watching is therapeutic for everyone. It is a quiet, peaceful, harmonious way to enjoy nature.

The Rules of Grammar by Mary Deal

The rules of grammar are to, first, benefit a reader. Grammar is standard format to which good writers will adhere. Secondly, it provid...